It’s been a life altering ride for Brian Barnes since 2020. Afflicted with COVID-19 that put him in the hospital for nearly two months between the hospital and rehabilitation in late 2020, Barnes has adjusted his career while remaining in Standardbred racing. His progress was recently documented in a story in the January issue of “Hoof Beats” penned by Kim Rinker.
According to the article, Barnes overcame a 10 percent chance of living during the height of his COVID-19 experience, and later being able to walk was a question mark. However, Barnes has recovered and walked into the ISA Banquet on his own, with a little help from a forearm crutch, Saturday, Jan. 21.
Barnes is a fourth-generation horsemen and had been a “go-to guy” in Central Indiana to break yearlings each year at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. Following his experience with COVID-19, he was forced to sell everything, from horses to equipment, and search for a new line of work, hoping to stay connected to racing. Barnes just completed the Racing Officials Accreditation Program at Los Alamitos Race Course and now has his official’s license. He is now watching and waiting to see if a position opens up this year to begin his second career in Standardbred racing.
Barnes and his wife, Jessica, who is also from a Standardbred family and is the current Director of Breed Development for Indiana, reside in Shelbyville, Ind. Jessica’s father is Jesse Larkins who continues to train in Indiana. Barnes’ mother, Kay, also still resides in Shelbyville and helps out with the kids from their ever-growing sports activities.
The Barnes’ recently moved to a one-level home to assist with Barnes’ mobility as he continues to recover. According to the article, he has severe nerve damage in his legs and recovery will continue with time. The Barnes have two children, Haylee, an eighth grader and standout gymnast and runner at Shelbyville Middle School, and Dylan, who is a nine-year-old also competing in sports such as football and baseball in the elementary school level in Shelbyville.
The full article on Barnes can be seen in the January issue of “Hoof Beats.”